29 Apr Greater Manchester Marathon Review
On Sunday one year had passed since the first Manchester Marathon in a decade. The 2012 race saw Andi Jones, in the wind and rain, who had a seemingly unstoppable lead from Altrincham’s Dave Norman in the closing miles, only to see Jones struggle as a result of running the Virgin London Marathon a week previous, allowing Norman to close the gap and take the title from second placed Jones.
Sunday’s race in very mild conditions, saw the two athletes go head to head again, with Jones, now of Stockport Harriers, the definite favourite for the race, with a PB some 3 minutes quicker than that of Norman. The race itself panned out very similarly to last year with Jones, who was meant to be paced by Carl Hardman and Jason Ward until late dropouts, hitting the front from the gun and leaving his fellow competitors in his wake. He quickly opened up a great lead, going through 10km already over a minute up the road from second place Norman. This only continued to happen, as Jones lead Norman by 1.41 at 10 miles, before making his way to 13.1 miles in 68:21, while Norman went for a more conservative 70:28 in the blustery conditions.
Norman utilized his two pace-makers, his brother and housemate, Andy Norman and Ben Riddell, sitting behind them and taking shelter from the winds until they dropped off, Riddell at 10 miles, and A.Norman at the 16 mile mark. Jones continued to look strong, and kept pushing through the Sale area of the course, hitting 20 miles 1:45.54, with Norman hitting the same marker some 2 minutes and 24 seconds later. The race looked over, and the crowds were widely expecting Jones to be the first to turn onto Chester Road and make the long run down to Old Trafford, but instead it was Norman who had made the most of the country lanes through Carrington and Urmston, to catch a tiring Jones, and push on to take his second consecutive title in just over 2 hours and 20 minutes, with Jones holding on for second place with Milton Keynes athlete Michal Glowacki taking the bronze medal.
Norman was overwhelmed following the victory, he spoke of not being well prepared for the race before ‘smashing’ a month’s training, and building his strength leading up to the event, while also having the ‘perfect’ race in terms and tactics and running negative splits out on the course to finish strong and catch Stockport’s Jones. Watch his Interview with Eightlane HERE & Full Results HERE .
The women’s race saw a similar trend with Issy Mendes hitting the front from the start and opening up a lead from Liz Cocks and Jocelyn Payne. Mendes looked to make the most of the men ahead of her sitting in, and following them around the course. By half way, she, like Jones, had over a 90 second lead on second placed Cocks. This time however, Mendes continued to look strong and held her lead through the lanes, before rejoining the populated Stretford streets to run it home to Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground in a respectable 2:42:23 from Cocks in2:43:29 with Leeds University student, Payne holding of a strong finish from June Allen to take the Bronze medal.
Massive thank you to Eightlane reporter Rob Jowett for all his hard work on the day (tweets & interview HERE) , added to the above report ^ , check out Rob’s Twitter HERE. Also thanks to Chris Heys for the little video embedded above and the Andi Jones picture.